Monthly Archives: September 2012

Further Debasement of Educational Currency

As a post script to the previous post, the debasement of our educational currency has suffered another devaluation. Harvard is currently investigating an issue with cheating performed on a massive scale at their prestigious university.  It appears over a hundred freshman in an introductory government class copied from each other on a take-home exam when the rules explicitly specified that students were to do their own work and not collaborate.

Now some of the reports suggested that Harvard would take disciplinary action that would effectively keep the students in school. Anything less than expulsion would tarnish the university’s reputation as the high point of educational achievement. When two students failed to cite wikipedia articles in their research paper at William and Mary, they were kicked out of the school. One would expect Harvard to do no less but what they do still remains to be seen.

Yet this should be no surprise. Academic cheating has been a growing cultural norm in the United States for some time. Last year a number of students at a prestigious high school in Long Island, New York were charged with using a paid smarty pants to take their SAT and college entrance exams. What’s been going on is now percolating to the top of the academic pile and what we see at Harvard (not to mention all the drug use and other illicit activities that go on in the student body regularly) is a natural progression. The ends justify the means. One day academic cheaters will find themselves in the halls of power, making laws they would expect everyone else to follow. Just ask Joe Biden.